Super Fund for a Super Retirement

Retirement can be emotionally draining, hectic, and full of anxiety, but with the correct superannuation scheming, your transition into a new, laid back lifestyle is made all the more easy. Superannuation in Australia is the collective name for arrangements made by people to have funds available after retirement. Completely government supported and endorsed, superannuation is a must-complete scheme before your big day. Among these, the Self-Managed Super Fund is a customizable scheme which keeps you in charge. The difference between an SMSF and other funds is that its members are, at the same time, its trustees. Hence, it gives more flexibility to members in terms of benefits and complying tax responsibilities. A great way to get started with your own SMSF is to give this great self-managed super fund scheme a try.

Retirement Fund

Getting Started

If you set up your very own SMSF, it means that investment decisions you make for the fund, as well as its responsibilities,are yours alone. It is a major financial decision for which your personal time and skills are a prerequisite. There are always better options to choose from; hence, choosing wisely is the key. Either way, one should consider professional advice before getting started.

A self-managed super fund or SMSF gives you control over your superannuation funds, so that you can invest in the manner you prefer. There exist rules as to where and in what you may invest, but these are practical and for the best of your interests.

According to the Australian Taxation Office, SMSF needs to be set up correctly, so that it becomes eligible for concessions in tax, can receive contributions, and is as administer friendly as possible. One needs to work out the structure of the fund, create a trust deed, and appoint trustees, among other important formalities.

Administering and reporting

Once you start your SMSF, you become obliged to arrange the annual audit of the fund, keep appropriate records, and lodge annual returns with the Australian Taxation Office as a trustee of your fund. These obligations must be met in due time in order to avoid getting penalized.

As a trustee, contributions from members and various sources can be received, albeit with some restrictions. These are mostly based on the member’s age and contribution. A self-managed super fund can have a maximum of four members; hence, a small family can pool their assets together and invest. The administration costs of such a fund become lower per person if assets are pooled in this way.


One needs to manage the investments of their fund in accordance with the laws. The investments must be separate from all personal and business affairs of the fund members including one’s own. A SMSF can borrow money to invest in real estate. There are rules that need to be followed for a self-managed super fund to pursue the property loan path. One should consult experienced accountants to guide them through the legislations and ensure that their SMSF is compliant.

Cold Weather Plumbing Maintenance

What Is Cold Weather Plumbing Maintenance?

The weather in the Midwest can be extreme, and can go to several degrees below freezing. In towns like Chicago, the wind chill caused by the heavy winds can cause frigid climates. Your plumbing can be susceptible to many different problems that this cold weather can cause. Being aware and mindful of potential problems can help you avoid problems in the future. Additionally, by doing simple checks, inspections, and planning you can save yourself aggravation and money later.

Frozen Hose Spicket

A water line leak or pipe burst are a very common occurrence in the winter – especially outdoors. Garden hoses left outdoors may be filled with water from the last use. Hoses with outdoor nozzles can get water pressure to backup indoors caused by outdoor ice formation, this can cause damage and cause pipes to burst. Last year a burst water hose copper pipe literally leaked thousands of water into a crawlspace unbeknownst to the homeowner. They only realized they had the issue after trying to use the hose the following spring. Luckily the water was not going into a finished basement! If you do need help with a burst pipe, or other plumbing issue – call an experienced plumber in Chicago or a top plumbing company locally like – for help ASAP! A simple precaution is to simply make sur you disconnect all water hoses and store them indoors for the winter season. Additionally, if you have shut off valves for these outdoor spickets, make sure you turn them OFF during the winter months. It is also a great idea to install shut off valves to your outdoor spickets if you do not already have them.

Frozen pipe(s) are another very common plumbing issue in the winter – pipes that are exposed to the elements can easily become frozen and cause major damage. For example, last winter people had a master bedroom and bathroom built above their garage. The ceiling in between the garage which was unfinished and unheated was not insulated properly up to the bedroom and bathroom above it. Consequently, the pipes became partially frozen which led to restricted water flow and therefore made the bathroom unusable until the pipes were fixed and the area was insulated properly. If you have any exposed pipes near the outdoors or elements be sure to watch them closely for problems. Catching plumbing issues early can save you money later!



What As A Home Energy Audit?

A home energy audit will help you understand where your home is losing energy. Studies indicate that you can save 5-30% on your energy costs within your home by making upgrades and repairs to your home to eradicate areas within your home that energy is escaping. In addition you may be eligible for state utility incentives to help assist you with your home energy audit.

What Is Involved In A Home Energy Audit?

A professional consultant will walk your home and review your home energy bills with you. They will look for possible areas of lost energy – cold air can enter the home through any number of different ways. This can include drafts from windows and doors, or can enter through an attic due to improper insulation and sealing. A professional insulation company can help you determine if your home is insulated properly within the attic, walls and basement if it applies. Often times test will include infrared X-ray analysis, frigid air draft analysis, and heat loss analysis among others.

What Can You Do To Prepare For A Home Energy Audit?

Prior to your appointment with a home energy consultant, make notes of existing issues within your home. These can include cold or drafty rooms, what rooms are comfortable and/or uncomfortable? What is the thermostat set at normally? Is the thermostat set differently at night, etc…? An experienced home energy audit company, may use equipment to discover trouble areas within your home – they may use blowers, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and room thermometers, etc… Use this time to ask questions to better understand how to correct energy voids within your home.

You can learn more by watching the video below!

Chemical / Pesticide Pest Control Use

There are several off the shelf pesticides available to control unwanted insects and pests. The spray cans, or packaging will come with instructions and make you aware of using these chemicals and there is no training associated with using these products. Yet when stored, handled, disposed of, or applied incorrectly – these products can be dangerous to people. In addition, the results of these products often times only provide temporary relief. Incorrectly used, pesticides intended for home use can be poisonous to people. If is wise to contact a professional Illinois pest control and extermination company to make sure to remove pests safely.

Read the Pesticide Label

Following this simple step is the first step towards using the chemical safely. The label will provide you with instructions and directions to safely and effectively use the product. In addition, the label will have first aid instructions in case someone is accidentally hurt or poisoned by the chemical / pesticide.

Disposal & Proper Storage

These products are extremely poisonous and can cause death. Be sure to keep these chemical in the original containers so that they are marked properly and contain all safety and first aid instructions. In addition, make sure the chemicals / pesticides are out of the reach of children and pets. If possible  keep under lock and key in a garden or shed.

Be Sure To Use The Correct Amount of Pesticide

Calculate the amount of pesticide needed for your specific area, then measure carefully to get best results for your pest control problem. The label will include instructions for how much product should be used based on your target area. Doing so will help you use the correct amount for the needed use.

In short – FOLLOW these tips:

  • Make sure you read and follow the instructions
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing
  • Do not eat or drink while working with these chemicals – avoid exposure to your hands as they may end up in your mouth by accident
  • Be sure to measure carefully and mix and apply only the amount needed for the task at hand
  • Keep pest and children away from the areas the pesticides were applied
  • Never transfer chemicals to other containers such as a soft drink bottle that could erroneously be drank by people
  • Use pesticides indoors only when absolutely needed, and use only the amount(s) needed
  • If you have to mix chemicals / pesticides – do so outdoors
  • Allow for plenty of ventilation – leave windows open and fans running
  • After product use, make sure all pets and family members are away from the area for the time designated on the product label

Only a professional and certified pest control removal service will have the experience and training necessary to make sure your pest control issues are safe for your kids and pets. If you do decide to use pest control chemicals and pesticides yourself, please make sure you follow these tips to apply these products safely.


How Emergency Contractors Can Hijack Your Insurance Claim – What You Need To Be Wary Of

insurance-claimsHaving a home emergency can certainly be very troublesome and problematic. No one wants to have an emergency especially if it costs them time and a lot of money to repair. Of course, emergencies in the home are a complete nightmare but so many people are being left a victim of a scam with their contractors. It’s true, too many people use contractors who are less than honourable. There are so many amazing contractors out there but at times, you can choose a scammer but how can emergency contractors hijack your insurance claim?

Home Safety Contractors Can Overtake the Insurance Claim Process

A lot of people don’t know much about insurance claims and can be left facing a lot of paperwork. However, many home owners make the mistake of allowing contractors to come in and handle all paperwork. You wouldn’t think people would do this but actually many do but as a result, the contractors take over the entire process leaving home owners in the dark. This is bad because you don’t know what is happening and you can’t be sure of what contracting companies are telling the insurance company either.

Contracts Could Take the Money and Run

To be honest, most contractors out there are honest and will do the work they are contracted for but there are still a few scammers out there who take the money and run. It has happened many times before and it’s because contractors take over the insurance claim and are paid the cash, do little or no work and run. This is why it’s important to avoid contracting companies who want to take over the claim because you never know what they will do once they get control.

Contractors Could Inflate Costs and the Work Needed

It’s very easy to allow a contractor to take over the insurance claim and allow them to handle most of the work but this isn’t a good idea. Contractors could fill out paperwork saying there is more work needed than there is or even inflate some of the final costs. It can happen and it could mean insurance companies refuse to pay out because they don’t believe the contractor but it can all cause insurance prices to hike too which is never good. When a home emergency occurs, never let the contractor take over the insurance claim.

You Could Be Left Out Of Pocket

As soon as you give control of the insurance claim over to the contractor, you are technically blindsided because you have no idea what is going on. You don’t know what is happening with the claim and whether it is being paid or otherwise. This could leave you out of pocket because contractors could say they are being paid only so much or want more money leaving you high and dry. Be a little home safety and avoid giving control over to contractors.

Be Wary Of Contractors Looking For Control

Most contractors out there are great and can help home owners in many ways when there is a big emergency. Many will assist in filling out insurance claims but not take over while some may ask for total control of the insurance claim. This is maybe not the best idea because you never know what the contractor will do once they have the insurance documents. It’s important to avoid giving contracting companies insurance claims to keep your safe and protected.

Preventing Pests Indoors

Pests need basic elements to survive – air, water / moisture, food and a roof over head / shelter. Below are some tips for indoor pest prevention. You can learn more about how to eliminate pests safely from an experienced pest control company by clicking here.

All living things need water to survive – pests are no different. Inspect plumbing in your home to make sure you do not have leaks. Pests need water to survive, make sure any leaky pipes are fixed. Also, inspect anywhere that water may accumulate and immediately work to fix this pooling of water. Common areas that pests are attracted to are trays underneath refrigerators that are designed to collect moisture and overflow from the contents within, plates or trays underneath plant to collect excess water, etc…  Look for dampness and high humidity areas and work to make sure these areas are removed or continually maintained. A professional and certified technician from an experienced Illinois pest control company can also help you find trouble areas for pests within your home.

Second, remove or block off cracks and crevices in your home to block indoor hiding places for pests within your home. Use caulk to form a seal and barrier to the outside of your home. Inspect all doors, windows and entryways into your home to sure they are blocked from the outdoors. You can use weatherstripping, and caulk to seal openings as needed. Regularly wash kitchen and bathroom mats to avoid moisture buildup, if you do keep old newspapers, plastic bags, or boxes in your home – make sure they are kept dry and try to keep them off the ground as pests love these areas to accumulate in. Additionally make sure you keep food in sealed containers that will be impossible for pests to gain access to. If you do have a pest problem, you must search for a Kane County pest control company, or your area to help you guard your property against annoying pests and rodents.

As a homeowner, the best advice is to regularly inspect areas within your home to make sure your home is dry, free of holes or crevices for pest entry, and lastly regularly inspect bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other high moisture areas to identify any areas that may be wet, need cleaning or have attracted pests. The earlier you identify a problem, or a problem area within your home – the easier it will be to fix the situation.



Perfect Home Improvement Project

Important Home Improvement Tips You Need To Know

To save yourself time and money, there are some important home improvement tips you need to know. Home improvement doesn’t need to include a huge project. Whether the job is big or small, you can complete many home improvement jobs yourself.

Basic Maintenance

Home improvements that take care of basic maintenance, are more important than decorative ones. If you’re fixing up your home to sell it, buyers won’t be able to see past the leaky roof, no matter how fabulous the claw foot tub looks. Take care of what your home needs first, like the furnace, roof, plumbing and exterior paint, before you make things more visually appealing. If you’re not planning on selling your house, then taking care of your home’s basic maintenance will still benefit you. If you regularly keep on top of things before they break down, it will save you money in the long run. For example, great insulation will never be a waste of money. A good investment is to insulate the attic, since heat rises. Doing this will save a lot of money on heating costs. This is something you can do yourself, you can buy insulation at most hardware stores.

Set Your Budget

Set your budget before you start a big project. You’ll need to plan for the costs of tools, equipment, permits, labor and cleanup. You can save on labor by doing whatever you can yourself. Know that home improvement will usually cost more and take longer than you originally planned. Don’t spend all of your budget at once, keep some of it aside in savings just in case you have some unexpected surprises. If you need to take out a loan to pay for your projects, consider the loan repayment in your budget too. You’ll need to spend about 1% to 2% of the purchase price of your home every year for routine maintenance costs.

Do it Yourself

Here are some general do it yourself tips you can do for home improvement: (

• dust once a week – this will help you from developing allergies, and if you have fleas or ants in your house, you will discover it sooner if you dust more often

• if you have an asphalt driveway, check it regularly for cracks, and fix them as soon as they happen

• one of the easiest and most cost effective home improvements you can do is to paint, so if you think your home needs a change, then try painting

Perfect Home Improvement Project

• consider removing carpets, since they may be hiding allergens and contaminants. Hardwood floors are easier to keep clean and don’t hold onto odors

• add new energy efficient appliances and fixtures – they will help you save on your energy bill, and will look better.

• replace your standard water heater with a tankless one – tankless heaters only heat up water as you need it, while standard ones keep about 50 gallons of water hot 24/7.

Improving your home can be a satisfying, enjoyable experience. It can also add value to your home, and certain things will save you money and electricity. You can also talk to someone at your local hardware store for important home improvement tips you need to know.

Choose The Perfect Contractor

Roofing 101: How to Choose the Perfect Contractor

When you have a roofing job to complete, you’ll need to know how to choose the perfect contractor. Your roof is a very important part of your house, and choosing a great contractor is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are a few tips to help you decide.


The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has a search tool on it’s website where you can find qualified roofers by zip code. Membership in this association usually means that contractors are committed to their field, and are receiving education, publications and information to help them do their job better. This would be a good place to start your search. It’s also a good idea to check online reviews of several roofing companies.

Roofing Experience

When looking at roofing contractors, you should check and see how much roofing experience each company has. How long have they been working for? Do they have a permanent business address, phone number and email? Can they provide references and testimonials? Check if the contractor has liability insurance, and if their work is backed up by a warranty. They should also have workman’s compensation insurance in case they get injured. Ask to see their license to make sure they’re following local regulations. Only deal with contractors who are licensed and insured.


Once you’ve decided on a few contractors, you should interview at least three of them before you make your choice. This will give you the chance to ask plenty of questions, and they can assess the roofing project. Ask them if they hire any sub-contractors, and if so, what their qualifications are. Follow your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. If you speak with a contractor and have a good feeling about him, then consider that in your decision too. A great contractor should be able to provide references. Call the references to ask them about the quality of their work, how quickly it was done, visit if what they paid was close to the estimate. You’re allowed to ask for credit references and banking information of the contractor too.

The Roofing Contract

When you’ve found a trusted roofing contractor, it’s time for you to negotiate the roofing contract. Get the contract in writing and read it over carefully. Have a knowledgeable friend, or a lawyer take a look at it too. A roofing contract should include:

Choose The Perfect Contractor

• a start date and finishing date for the work
• which building permits are needed
• a warranty
• payment terms, including a lien. In most states, a contractor can put a lien on your property, meaning they have a right to keep possession of property until they are paid in full.
• which materials will be used
• inspections on the project
• right to rescind, which gives you the right to cancel the contract without a penalty.

By doing your research before making a decision, you will hopefully have a great business relationship with your contractor. Check in on the work regularly, a good contractor should have nothing to hide. This concludes roofing 101: how to choose the perfect contractor.

home safety

5 Things to Do to Your Home Before Going On Holiday

No matter how long you are going on a trip for, there are 5 things to do to your home before going on holiday. Following these tips will keep you from coming home to any unpleasant surprises. Accidents can happen, but some of them can be prevented if you know what to do. There are also things that you should do to prevent burglars from noticing your house is empty.

Unplug Appliances

Before leaving on holiday, make sure to unplug all appliances to prevent power surges. If there is a power surge and an appliance is plugged in, then the surge of electricity could destroy it. Unplugging everything will also save power, since plugged in appliances use power even when they’re turned off. If you already have your electronics plugged into a surge protector, then all you have to do is switch it off before you leave.

Turn Off Your Main Water Supply

Turning off your main water supply will prevent a leak from happening in your house while there’s no one there. An unnoticed leak could leave you with thousands of dollars of damage. Turning the main supply off however, will only take a few minutes and won’t cost anything.more news at

Put Lights On Timers

To make it look like someone’s home, make sure to put your lights on timers. If you leave the lights on constantly while you’re away, it will look suspicious and will run up your energy bill. If the lights are left off for the whole time that you’re gone for, then a burglar will definitely know that you’re away. Set your lights to be on for the times that your lights are usually on for, and that will make it look like you’re still at home.

Hold Your Mail

Call your local post office to have them stop your mail delivery. They can hold your mail from three to thirty days. Depending on your location, you may be able to request this online. This is a free service from USPS. If you have a newspaper delivered, you can have that stopped while you’re on holiday too. A full mailbox is a sure sign of an empty house, so don’t give burglars any more here!

home safety

Lock Up

Make sure to lock up everything before you leave on holiday. Check all locks on doors, windows, the garage door, and locks to any gates you have. Arm your home security alarm system if you have one. It’s a good idea to call your alarm company, or fill out their vacation form online.

Although this isn’t something you can do to your house, it’s also good to tell a neighbor that you’ll be out for a while, and ask them to keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. They could also do things like water your exterior plants, and keep a car in the driveway. When you complete the 5 things to do to your home before going on holiday, your house should be safe and you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday.


Safety Tips For a Home Emergency

Anyone can benefit from knowing some safety tips for a home emergency. You can better protect your family and your home during an emergency by being prepared. Here are a few home emergencies that may happen, and some things for you to take care of in your own house.


Do you have a working fire alarm? It’s recommended to have a working smoke detector on each floor of your house. Check the batteries twice a year, usually when the clocks go ahead and back. Test out your smoke detectors once a month, and replace them every 10 years. Have a working fire extinguisher, the best place to put it is in your kitchen. Keep everything away from the stove that isn’t a cooking utensil. Talk to your family about an evacuation plan. Choose a meeting place where you can all get together outside of the house in case there is a fire. If there is a fire in your house, get out and stay out.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

If there is a blackout, or a natural disaster, you never know how long the power will be out for, or how large of an area will be affected. Everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit in their home. Pack supplies into a large bin such as:

• candles, matches, and a flashlight(

• non-perishable food and a can opener

• water, at least 1 gallon per person in your family for 3 days

• cash, since bank machines may not be working

• soap and other toiletries

• first aid supplies

• a camp stove


To prevent accidental poisoning, lock up cleaning products, pesticides, medications and any other chemicals. They should be kept in a locked cabinet, out of the reach of children. Don’t spray pesticides near kids’ toys, since children may put the toys in their mouths. Install a carbon monoxide detector to prevent CO poisoning. Check your furnace and replace filters regularly. To see if a ventilation pipe has a leak, spray it with a mixture of dish soap and water. If bubbles start to form, then you may have a leak and should get it looked at.

Accident Prevention

Here are some general safety tips for accident prevention around the house:

• keep exits free from boxes, furniture and other tripping hazards.

• Make sure your stairs are lit, and that you can see over anything you’re carrying up and down the stairs.

• Put adhesive stickers or a rubber mat on the bathtub floor to prevent slipping

• Wear safety glasses when using power tools

• Shut off appliances before leaving the house

• keep space heaters away from bedding, curtains, and other combustibles.


Natural Disasters

Depending on the natural disaster, you will need to do different things to stay safe. During an earthquake: drop, cover and hold on. If there is a flash flood, get to higher ground immediately. In case of a tornado, go to the basement and hide under a workbench or desk. If you don’t have a basement, go to a room without windows in the centre of the house. The same goes for hurricanes. During any natural disaster, if the authorities tell you to evacuate, then that is the safest thing to do.get more here!

No matter what the emergency may be, the best thing you can do is be prepared. Check with your city or town to see if they have any recommendations for staying safe as well. Remember these safety tips for a home emergency.